JOAQUIN  M.  HENSON:  THE  CAGER  CALLED  'BLACKINO'

MANILA,  October 18, 2004  (STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - Red Bull reserve guard Jon Ordonio can’t understand why he’s on the list of eight Fil-foreigners being investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ). He’s suspected of forging documents to acquire Filipino citizenship for eligibility to play in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as a local.

Curiously, Ordonio’s legitimacy was confirmed and reaffirmed by the DOJ itself before the new "hit" list came out. Why he’s on the list is a mystery because there’s no doubt he’s half-Filipino. His mother Corazon Ordonio was born to a Filipino father born in Bauang, La Union, and a Filipina mother born in Hawaii. Ordonio even got a certification from the US Embassy that his grandfather was a Filipino citizen when his mother was born in Hawaii, meaning she inherited Filipino citizenship.

So what’s the problem?

Ordonio doesn’t hide the fact that his parents weren’t married when he was born. That’s why he took his mother’s surname. His father is John Woods, a black American who sired three children from another relationship. Ordonio says he often talks to his parents, who live in Monterey, California, in long distance phone calls.

Early next year, Ordonio plans to bring his mother to Manila for a vacation. She was supposed to visit this year but Ordonio took a paycut when he moved from Alaska to Red Bull and couldn’t afford her ticket.

Ordonio lives here with his American wife Jacky and their two boys, Kobe, 5, and Tahjae, 3. A doting father, Ordonio brought Kobe to Australia during Alaska’s reward trip for winning the Invitationals last year.

Not too many fans know that Ordonio was nicknamed "Blackino" when he played at The Master’s College in Los Angeles. "Blackino" is tattooed on Ordonio’s left bicep and means black and Filipino. That should be proof enough of his lineage. Maybe, the DOJ investigators should take a look at Ordonio’s bicep.

Ordonio says his mother is willing to talk to DOJ investigators–in Ilocano.

"If they wanna talk to my mom, I can set that up," he says. "They can ask her whatever they want. If they know someone who can speak Ilocano, let them talk to her. I’m tired of being messed with when I know what I am. I have a tattoo that says ‘Blackino’ which means black and Filipino. That was my nickname in college."

* * *

PBA commissioner Noli Eala squeezed in an hour of mid-afternoon gymwork before proceeding to the Xavier University gym for the 6 p.m. Shell vs. Red Bull game in Cagayan de Oro last Tuesday. He worked out on a treadmill and lifted weights at the PerfectLine fitness center near the Dynasty Hotel where the PBA officials were billeted.

Security officer Dennis Santos of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority said Eala was surrounded by matrons in the gym. Santos kept his eye on Eala and the matrons, of course.

* * *

Shell assistant coaches Bogs Adornado and Dayong Mendoza agreed it was hard work that lifted the Turbochargers to a come-from-behind 93-86 decision over Red Bull in Cagayan de Oro.

Adornado said Red Bull had the talent advantage, man for man, and was so much bigger but Shell refused to give up. He revealed that Turbochargers frontliners Billy Mamaril and Adonis Sta. Maria weren’t 100 percent. That’s why Carlo Sharma got to play in his first PBA game, added Adornado.

"But Carlo was due to play because he’s been practicing so well," noted Adornado. "He’s got good moves. May jumpshot, may jumphook, may defense, may galaw. Hindi nakapag-practice si Billy ng three days at si Adonis, may iniinda pa."

What brought Shell back in the second half was coach Leo Austria’s adjustments in offense and defense.

"Kulang kami sa help defense in the first half," said Adornado. "We made the adjustments tapos pumutok si Rich (Alvarez) sa labas."

Alvarez wound up with a career-high 27 points and Tony de la Cruz added 20. Ronald Tubid chipped in 19.

"Si Ronald ang wildcard namin," said Mendoza. "He’s the PBA’s best sixth man right now. Dati, suppressed siya because coach (John) Moran didn’t allow fadeaway shots and three-pointers and stress nya ang motion offense. Ngayon, nakawala na siya. Coach Leo allows him to free lance. He’s always full of energy. He gives us a big boost off the bench."

Mendoza described Shell’s new hire Celino Cruz as "an experienced rookie." Cruz, 27, was Talk ‘N’ Text’s third round pick in 2002 but never played in the PBA until this conference.

"May poise siya," said Mendoza. "He has game awareness. Coach Leo showed his confidence in Cruz by sending him in with less than two minutes to go. He settled down the team and even hit a baseline shot. He knows what to do on the floor kaya ang laki ng confidence ni coach sa kanya."

Shell executives Romy de Guzman and Bobby Kanapi were at courtside to savor the Turbochargers’ victory. Team manager Vicky Araneta said Alvarez’ showing vindicated his selection as the league’s top draft pick this year.

De Guzman said to show his all-out support for the team, he’s postponing a trip to London to accompany the Turbochargers to Iloilo for their game against Alaska on Oct. 28.

As for Moran, Araneta said the late coach’s mother was so distraught and emotional when he died last May. "He never told the family that he was sick and he was her favorite son, being the eldest," she related. "They only found out he was sick when he passed away."

It was Araneta who confirmed the news of Moran’s death after speaking to his mother on the phone.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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